The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #128220   Message #2868621
Posted By: doc.tom
21-Mar-10 - 12:06 PM
Thread Name: The Advent and Development of Chanties
Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
Just to help set the context, may I quote from the Short, Sharp Shanties presentation that BB & I have been doing - quoting greater authorities than us!

"Hugill tells us that: 'the cessation of the American War of 1812 and of the Napoleonic Wars brought about a great impetus in merchant shipping. The early packet ships, not clippers by any means, began to come to London. They carried, in the main, emigrants to the New World'."

"The wooden walls of the Napoleonic period were now obsolete. America built faster, new design ships, and peace led to an economic boom as trade expanded world-wide. And with it the great period of the development of shantying had begun".

"According to Kinsey, the most creative period of shanty-singing was between 1820 and 1850. Doeflinger agrees, saying that: 'Most seem to have originated between about 1820 and 1860. They were the product of a revival in shantying in the peaceful decades between the war of 1812 and the Civil War which saw the swift rise of the United States to leadership in the deep-water shipping trade.'"

"But the British soon caught up, building ships with hardwoods rather than softwoods. Ships that would outlive the Yankee packets by decades! The glorious years of shantying were actually very short-lived. Cicely Fox-Smith points out that: - 'Shantying was at its best roughly between 1850 and 1875.' Hugill that: - 'It can safely be said that from 1860 onwards the production of new shanties ceased completely', and Whall says: 'Since 1872 I have not heard a Shanty or Song worth the name.'

The other Shanty Short heard in Québec was Cheer'ly Man. He told Cecil Sharp it was – "One of the first shanties ever invented - and the one I learned first." Hugill does not disagree, saying: 'Cheer'ly Man is only just faintly removed from singin'- out and is probably the most primitive, and one of the oldest shanties'."

Great thread - let's carry on!